RUMOR MACHINE

The Restaurant Kid recently turned 8 months old which means he has become mobile. One of the first things he did was find a fascination with the blinking lights on our Internet router that I thought was hidden safely away and promptly brought it down for the count. He located the TV remote control and somehow reprogrammed it via random button pushing. All trash cans and recycle bins in our home are dumped at least a few times a week. Most recently I discovered that he had crashed the Rumor Machine which appeared hopelessly lost until I powered it up and a message popped out that read: “Whole Foods Market has been in negotiations for several months with Sears in La Cumbre Plaza.” As always, this rumor might be completely false or a brilliant forecast of future events. Your call.

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FOR-LEASE SIGN DOWN

Readers have informed me that the for-lease sign has been taken down at 718 State Street, the one-time home of Killer B’s, Kozmo’s, California Crisp and Fat Burger. I left a voice message with SIMA inquiring about this and have not heard anything back yet. There doesn’t appear to be any new construction going on.

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DINE-OUT FOR CADA KIDS

A day-long dine-out event will be held Tuesday, June 30th to support the Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse (CADA) youth programs. Residents are invited dine at their favorite participating restaurant and a percentage of proceeds will go to support CADA Kids.

CADA Kids represent the preventive substance abuse programs of CADA, reaching thousands of young people annually. CADA Kids includes: The Mentor Program; Teen Court at the Daniel Bryant Center; START and CARE – early intervention programs in grade schools; Friday Night Live & Club Live leadership programs; Youth Service Specialists – serving all local public junior high and high schools.

In its inaugural year, over 1,000 patrons visited one of the 21 restaurants signed up and the event raised over $10,000 for CADA Kids programs.

“This show of solidarity by so many restaurant owners and managers speaks volumes for their commitment to helping youth in our community make healthy choices,” says CADA President, Ed Stonefelt. “We are looking forward to another banner year.”

Participating South Coast restaurants include: Arch Rock, The Bistro at Bacara, Black Sheep, Bouchon, Brophy Bros., Bucatini, Cajun Kitchen, Chicken Ranch Goleta, Chuck’s Waterfront Grill, Fresco Cafe, Jill’s Place, Joe’s Cafe, Lucky Penny, Lucky’s Steakhouse, McDonald’s, Mulligans Cafe, Opal Restaurant, Paradise Cafe, Pascucci, Pizza Garden (Lompoc), Rooney’s Irish Pub (Orcutt), Savoy Cafe, Toma Restaurant, Tom’s Burger (Lompoc) and Tre Lune.

To sign up as a participating restaurant visit DineOutForCADAKids.com

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CIELITO TAQUERIA REOPENS

Cielito Taqueria inside Cielito Restaurant at 1114 State Street has reopened. They serve lunch, taqueria style, Tuesday – Friday 11 a.m. -3 p.m. Cielito’s counter-service menu consists of a la carte tacos, burritos, and a daily fresh salad with a full salsa bar. Also available are house margaritas, bottled beer, and agua fresca, among other beverage selections.

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MEAL KIT DELIVERY SERVICE

Terra’s Kitchen at 3007 De la Vina Street, the former home of Steve’s Patio Café, has launched a new meal-kit delivery service that includes ingredients you can cook at home with the provided photo recipe card. Terra’s Kitchen delivers fresh, already cut & prepped produce, organic proteins and sauces to your doorstep as chef-designed “clean” meals. Founded by a team of foodies, farmers, nutritionists and wellness professionals, I am told that Terra’s Kitchen was created to help answer the question so many consumers ask: “How can I eat healthy and delicious food without wasting hours away in the kitchen?” The service includes the “Eco-Cube,” a climate-controlled delivery vessel designed to keep your ingredients fresh for up to 7 days after your delivery date.

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KILLER B’s TO BECOME STATE STREETS BACKYARD

Noozhawk reports that Killer B’s BBQ at 731 De la Guerra Plaza has closed and will reopen this summer under new ownership and sport a new name: State Streets Backyard. The new owner, Gabe Clark, who worked as chef at the restaurant, hopes to open in July. Killer B’s opened in January, 2011.

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OTACO OPENS

OTaco opened in mid-April at 6530 Pardall Road in Isla Vista, the former home of Angry Wings, Chino’s Rock & Tacos, Eclectic I.V., China Garden, and Kung Pao Kitchen. The boxing-themed restaurant has photos of Mike Tyson and Muhammad Ali on the wall and includes a punching bag hanging from the ceiling. Instead of chairs the restaurant used small storage lockers for seating. The Korean-Mexican menu consists primarily of pork, beef and veggie tacos. Chicken tacos are not available. Hours are 11 a.m. – midnight. OTaco is run by the same family that operates Hana Kitchen down the street.

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WILDWOOD KITCHEN COMING TO HALEY STREET

James Buckley at the Santa Barbara Sentinel reports that a new 19,900 square-foot food-and-drink hot spot called The Mill is being constructed by owners Darrell and Kirsten Becker at 412 East Haley Street, the former home of Tileco. Justin West, co-owner of Restaurant Julienne at 138 East Canon Perdido Street, plans to open Wildwood Kitchen on the property, offering smoked meats and southern-style American barbecue with a Santa Barbara ranch influence. Indoor and patio seating will be available.

Other future tenants at The Mill include high-end craft beer maker Third Window Brewery, with 18 stainless-steel fermentation tanks and managed by Kristopher Parker, grandson of Fess Parker, and Potek Winery run by David Potter who operates Municipal Winemakers in the Funk Zone.

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WINEMAKER DINNER

Wine + Beer and the Santa Barbara Public Market continue their winemaker dinner series on Saturday, June 6, at 6 p.m. with Gavin Chanin from Lutum Wines, teaming up with Derek Simcik, Executive Chef of Outpost at The Goodland Hotel. Food and wine lovers can enjoy small production Pinots and Chardonnays, paired with a robust menu by Simcik. Cost is $95 per guest. For reservations call 770-7702.

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ZIZZO’S RE-LAUNCH

A lot of new things are happening at Zizzo’s Coffee, 370 Storke Road in Goleta. Here is a message from owners Michael and Sue McDonald about a four-day event starting May 28th:

Zizzo’s Re-Launch May 28th – May 31st

It has been 6 years since we have opened our doors.  Thanks to you, our loyal customers, we have survived through one of the worst economic lows in our nation’s history.  We want to send you a big hearty thank you!

Now we want to celebrate with a grand “Re-Launch” of Zizzo’s Coffee and Craft Beer”.  We have been providing excellent coffee and service to the locals and now we want to extend the service into the “after-hours” time slot.  We have partnered with some outstanding local breweries and wineries to bring our customers nothing but the best.

In addition we have hired Chef Anthony with over 10 years’ experience in the restaurant industry to prepare awesome food items, including artisan flat bread pizza, nachos (available all day), chicken wings, pulled pork sliders, hamburgers, pizza – just to name a few.

We want to step-out and showcase what we can do for HAPPY HOUR.  We are having a 4-day Re-Launch with drink and food specials. Take a look at what we have on the schedule for YOU:

  • Thirsty Thursday – $1.00 off all MOCHAS after 10am, and half-off BEER and WINE all day.
  • Give it back – Frap Friday – Today we dedicate $1.00 for every FRAP we sell to the Rett Syndrome Foundation; a disease that is on the cusp of being cured.  We are sponsoring Sorel in her fight to cure this disease.  Sorel and her family have been loyal customers of Zizzo’s since we opened.  In the evening,  we will be donating $2.00 to the Rett Foundation for each FLAT BREAD PIZZA and BEER combo we sell (we call it our flat-beer special).
  • Tri-Tip Saturday (11-8pm) – we will be offering BBQ TRI-TIP sandwiches.  The highlight of Saturday will be a raffle for an Apple iPad.   To win all you have to do is purchase a CRAFT BEER OR WINE to be entered into the contest (you must absolutely be present to win – drawing takes place at 8pm).
  • Waffle Sunday  To wind down our week, we will be offering specialty WAFFLES, EGG DISHES AND MIMOSAS for Sunday Brunch.

We hope you will come out and join us for our big celebration this week!  See you soon!

Michael and Sue McDonald and the Zizzo’s Crew

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GONE WITH THE WIND

Esau’s Cafe has been a Santa Barbara mainstay for so long that customers once dined at the popular restaurant while Wizard of Oz and Gone with the Wind were still playing in movie theaters. In August, 2008 the legendary local eatery moved from their longtime State Street home to a spacious spot at 721 Chapala Street.

I am sad to report that word has come to me that Santa Barbara Esau’s closes their doors for good on Monday May 25th at 2 p.m. I wasn’t able to reach downtown Esau’s to ask about this so after dining at Siam Elephant Restaurant in Carpinteria, I walked into Carpinteria Esau’s immediately next door and received confirmation that Monday is the last day for Santa Barbara Esau’s. The cafe has been serving hungry customers since 1939. I was told that Carpinteria Esau’s will remain open for business as usual.

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NARDONNES CLOSES

Reader Steve tells me that Nardonnes La Famiglia Pizzeria at 17 W. Ortega Street has closed. The business opened in March, 2012. Here is a message for you from Nardonnes:

Hello friends, family, patrons,

Nardonne’s Pizzeria will be relocating back to Baywood Park (San Luis Obispo county).

Our last day of operation in the Santa Barbara location was Sunday May 17th. We have sold this location but not as a Nardonne’s Pizzeria. The new owners and concept will be a welcomed addition to the neighborhood. We expect to have our Baywood Park location opened early June!

This was a difficult decision for us but relocating back to the Central Coast is a positive move for our family and business.

We have enjoyed our time here in Santa Barbara and leave with some very special friendships we have gained over the last 3 years.

We hope to see you before we leave if not see you in our new location when visiting or passing through!

Thank you for all the support,
Nardonne’s Pizzeria Famiglia

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MERCI TO GO OPENS IN MONTECITO

A new eatery named Merci To Go opened in April at the Montecito Country Mart at 1024 Coast Village Road. Merci To Go offers sandwiches, salads, dinners and desserts Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The main menu includes Vietnamese Chicken Salad, Organic Beets, Quiche Lorrain, Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad, Moroccan Carrot Salad, Mary’s Organic Chicken Paillard with Meyer Lemon Salsa, Grilled Asparagus, Heirloom White Beans and Mac n’ Cheese. Dessert offerings include Valrhona Triple Chocolate Brownies, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies, Organic Lemon Poppy Seed Bundt Cake, Butterscotch Pudding and Homemade Granola. Call 310-270-5272 or visit mercitogo.com.

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THE FOOD LIAISON OPENS

Reader Jenny tells me that a business named The Food Liaison has opened in the Shepard’s Place Shopping center on Casitas Pass Road in Carpinteria. I am told The Food Liaison offers catering, cooking classes and healthful take
out meals. Visit thefoodliaison.com.

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STILL OPENS

There is a new barware and cocktail accessories store named Still has opened downtown at 37 East Ortega Street. Their website elevateyourethanol.com offers the following description:

“Still is a retail space devoted to the art of cocktail craftsmanship. For the amateur home mixer to the professional mixologist, we carry a wide variety of barware, bar tools, glasses, quality vintage pieces, and the finest modern cocktail accessories. We also feature natural, local, and artisanal mixers, sodas, syrups, and shrubs. Our bitters tasting bar allows customers to sample Santa Barbara’s largest selection of cocktail bitters.”

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MELVILLE WINEMAKER DINNER

On May 26 at 7:30 p.m. Cielito restaurant at 1114 State Street is offering a 5-course menu inspired by the tastes and aromas of Melville Vineyards’ offerings. Enjoy food & wine pairings crafted by Executive Chef Kurt Steeber. Cost is $100 per person. Call 965-4770 for reservations.

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NATIONAL TAMALE DAY

This just in from reader Richard, owner of Santa Barbara Tamales-To-Go (sbtamalestogo.com):

“Hi John. We just received some good ‘tamale news.’ I opened an email letting us know that our application was accepted. Beginning in 2016, March 23rd will be listed as National Tamale day in Chase’s National Calendar of
Events!”

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MILITARY APPRECIATION NIGHT

This year, Southern California Chick-fil-A restaurants are celebrating Memorial Day early and honoring the region’s military personnel with the 5th annual Military Appreciation Night on Wednesday, May 20, from 4-7 p.m. All active military personnel and those who have previously served are invited, along with their immediate family members, to enjoy a free entrée at Chick-fil-A restaurant, 3707 State Street.

The free Chick-fil-A entrée offer is valid with a military ID or proof of service and is only available for dine-in customers. The offer includes a choice of the Original Chick-fil-A Chicken Sandwich, Chick-fil-A Spicy Chicken Sandwich, Chick-fil-A Nuggets (8-count) or Chick-fil-A Chicken-n-Strips (3-count).

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MARGERUM WINEMAKER DINNER

On Thursday May 21, Wine + Beer and the Santa Barbara Public Market at 38 West Victoria Street invite food and wine enthusiasts to a Margerum Winemaker Dinner in The Kitchen at the Public Market. Julian Martinez, Head Chef at Barbareño Restaurant, 205 West Canon Perdido Street, and his team, will partner with Doug Margerum, winemaker and owner of Margerum Wine Company, to offer a locally inspired pairing menu, reflective of the California Central Coast.

Guests will be welcomed with a glass of Margerum Riveiera Rosé of Grenache 2014 and a selection of hors d’oeuvres including Santa Maria Tartare, Ranchero Scotch Eggs and Santa Barbara Sea Urchin. Dinner begins with a fresh Stone Fruit Salad, with Drake goat cheese, fennel vinaigrette and mahlab, paired with Margerum Sybarite Saubignon Blanc 2013. Next guests will indulge in a Spring Rack of Lamb, with dukkah spice, beets, sun-dried black olives and lime-rose gastrique, paired with Margerum ‘M5’ GSM Blend 2013. The dinner ends with Olive Oil Brioche Beignets with pistachio marzipan, cherry and amaro, paired with Happy Canyon Vineyards Piocho Red Blend 2011.

The Margerum Winemaker Dinner is $95 per person. Call 770-7702 to make a reservation.

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REUNION VENUE NEEDED

The Restaurant Guy is a member of his Santa Barbara High School class reunion committee and is charged with finding a venue for a July, 2016 gathering. We are looking for a location that can handle 150-200 people. Preferably this would be a place that can serve dinner and have a no-host bar. If you have any suggestions please post them here or email info@santabarbara.com. Thank you.

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SUNSET AT ARLINGTON TAVERN

The last night of business for Arlington Tavern at 21 W. Victoria Street is Saturday, May 16th. This address will be the future home of The Nugget restaurant. Arlington Tavern opened in April, 2012.

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FUNDRAISER HOST

Sweet Alley at 955 Embarcadero del Mar in Isla Vista is available for fundraisers. They cut a check at the end of the evening for 15% of total sales. No questions asked. Contact info@sweetalley.com.

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THE LITTLE DOOR TO OPEN DOWNTOWN

A new restaurant named The Little Door will be coming to 129 East Anapamu Street, the current home of Piano Riviera Lounge and former home of Elements Restaurant & Bar. The space is being taken over by the Meschin brothers, owners of The Little Door in West Los Angeles. With the arrival of a new GM Emmanuelle Recher, a new culinary path has already been given to the Riviera Piano Lounge. The Chef Stephen Goularte is testing out and bringing a new menu including his lasagna Bolognese, a Steak au Poivre or a Mezze platter. Piano Riviera Lounge will close this summer and The Little Door will have a grand opening at the end of summer. Visit thelittledoor.com.

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THE LURE OF MARMALADE

Lure Fish House, coming soon to La Cumbre Plaza in the space formerly occupied by Ruth’s Chris Steak House, is in escrow to purchase the Type 47 alcohol license from neighboring business Marmalade Café. This information is available in the ABC License Query System at abc.ca.gov. Reliable sources tell me that the license purchase is not guaranteed to go through but if it does, employees from Marmalade Cafe might migrate to Lure Fish House as well. I spoke with Marmalade Café and was told Marmalade will not be closing and that there are no changes planned.

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BARBAREÑO BRUNCH

This just in from Barbareño at 205 West Canon Perdido Street:

“Barbareño, now six months old, is serving their casual but inventive Central Coast Cuisine for weekend brunch. Their menu draws inspiration from Santa Barbara staples, incorporating ingredients that define the region and grow particularly well here. Pistachios in creamy marzipan, olive oil, and Cabernet Sauvignon jam adorn their French toast; while local Lompoc pinquito beans, housemade chorizo, and smoked ranchero sauce give a unique spin to the classic huevos rancheros. Paying homage to local legend, Herb Peterson, inventor of the Egg McMuffin, Barbareño reimagines eggs benedict to honor his breakfast sandwich. An innovative drink menu including: cold-brewed handlebar coffee with smoked cacao nibs (aptly named “Turbo”),  a refreshing “Lime Rose Drank”,  and a high-class Brass Monkey rounds out the offerings of what will surely become a Santa Barbara brunch favorite. Their inviting, dog-friendly patio is the perfect spot to enjoy these creative new dishes! Hours are 9:30am to 1:30pm on Saturdays and Sundays.”

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STATE OF THE INDUSTRY

On May 20th at Marmalade Café in La Cumbre Plaza the Greater Santa Barbara Lodging and Restaurant Association is presenting a State of the Industry discussion with California Restaurant Association President Jot Condie. Free continental breakfast available at 8:30 a.m. and discussion begins at 9:30 a.m. RSVP at jlarson@calrest.org.

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NATIONAL PIZZA PARTY DAY

May 15th is National Pizza Party Day and Persona Wood Fired Pizzeria at 905 State Street is ready to help everyone celebrate. The Santa Barbara-based create-your-own, hand crafted pizza franchise is welcoming pizza lovers to enjoy a one-topping Neapolitan pizza for $4.95 from 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.

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BOURDAIN SIGHTING

This just in from reader Cagara:

Question:  What was happening at The Lark last week? Saw several busloads unload there with Anthony Bourdain among the group.

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CALIFORNIA PIZZA KITCHEN UPDATE

This just in from California Pizza Kitchen at 719 Paseo Nuevo:

SANTA BARBARA, CA – California Pizza Kitchen (CPK), the authority in creative dining with a California vibe, announced today that it has transformed its Santa Barbara location with a fresh, contemporary design and a vastly expanded menu. The Santa Barbara CPK is among the first in the country to get the Next Chapter makeover, taking place at 80 CPK locations nationwide in 2015.

“We have worked around-the-clock to create a fabulous new experience for our guests,” said Managing Partner Kevin Secky. “Our new environment welcomes Santa Barbara patrons with a relaxed, upscale feel and many natural elements.”

Sustainable materials are a guiding factor in the Next Chapter design. The warm rustic décor features many elements like oak floors, tabletops and chairs from reclaimed wood and stone countertops. Fabrics used for seating are from recycled materials. Even the glassware, dishes and stemware have been reconsidered in the new design, updated for a casual but refined dining experience. Additionally, the open floor plan has flexible seating with indoor/outdoor dining options and walls feature local landmarks for a neighborhood feel. For more, visit http://www.cpk.com/virtualtour.

The adventurous new menu includes the signature hand-tossed pizza favorites like CPK’s iconic BBQ Chicken Pizza with new options in appetizers, salads, sides and mains designed to showcase seasonal dishes, locally sourced ingredients and globally inspired flavors. For the complete menu, visit www.cpk.com/reimagined.

The centerpiece of the new Santa Barbara CPK is the open kitchen, where guests can watch as pizzas are hand-tossed, their food is prepared from scratch and favorite artisan pizzas as well as exciting new main courses like fire-grilled rib-eye and roasted halibut are baked.

“We are upping our game with this transformation, which we call The Next Chapter,” said G. J. Hart, CEO of California Pizza Kitchen. “Taking the best of our history and soul and innovating to make it current for today’s sophisticated guest, the new look, menu and experience creates a space to relax and unwind in a welcoming neighborhood environment.”

The Santa Barbara CPK is one of 80 locations across the country that will be remodeled this year with all CPK restaurants completing their Next Chapter renovation by the end of 2016.

Picking Up the Pace: Lunch Duos
For a unique creative lunch, CPK is introducing Lunch Duos, a quick way to create meal pairings with lunch-sized versions of a favorite pizza or sandwich and a soup or salad. Lunch Duos give guests a great value, with over 80 fresh, made-to-order options to mix, match and enjoy in the middle of their time-challenged days.

Satisfaction Guaranteed
The New CPK menu encourages diners to seek unique and seasonal flavor combinations, but offers a Menu Adventure Guarantee: If a guest tries a new dish and is not satisfied, it will be replaced with his or her favorite item from the CPK menu. CPK also will continue to offer delicious menu choices to diners with dietary restrictions offering vegetarian/vegan choices, and gluten-free items.

Masterful Mixology
CPK has curated a unique collection of handcrafted cocktails, craft beers and carefully selected wines. Cocktails are created from fresh fruits, juices, purees and herbs. Paired with artisan flatbreads and other creative appetizers, CPK is an inspired after-work destination.

Cooking with CPK
Founded in 1985, CPK recently published their “Taste of the Seasons“ cookbook to celebrate their 30th anniversary. The book, the fourth in a series, is a collection of recipes for many classic CPK dishes and seasonal menu items. Created by CPK’s top chefs Brian Sullivan and Paul Pszybylski, each recipe uses fresh ingredients that are inspired by Mother Nature’s harvest throughout the year.  The book is sold exclusively at CPK restaurants for $19.95. All proceeds from the sale of Taste of the Seasons will be donated to children’s charities. For more visit www.cpk.com/TasteoftheSeasons.

CPKids
CPK offers a special birthday program that allows kids to play chef and make their own pizza from the freshest ingredients. The fun also includes VIP-style behind-the-counter restaurant tour, a meal and dessert from the award-winning CPKids menu, souvenirs and a certificate for a free CPKids Meal for each child’s next visit. (Available at participating locations.)

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DIVAS OF COMEDY

Carol Metcalf and her friends, notable comediennes Karen Rontowski, Cat Wagner, Charlene Mae and Samantha Ross, will perform at Max’s Dinner Comedy Night on Sunday, May 17th at Max’s Restaurant and Cucina, 3514 State Street at 7:30 p.m.   The evening will honor the work of Direct Relief International, with 10% of all guest checks donated to the relief efforts underway following the earthquakes in Nepal. Dinner is available from 5 p.m.  Call 898-9121 or visit maxsrestaurantsb.com.

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